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Marine Places

Society Islands

The Society Islands comprise a chain of volcanic and coral islands in the South Pacific, including islands with barrier reefs (such as Rai’atea), islands with both fringing and barrier reefs (such as Tahiti), and atolls or near-atolls (such as Maupihaa and Maupiti). The reefs’ biological diversity is moderate compared with the reefs of Southeast Asia, although more than 160 coral species, 800 species of reef fish, 1,000 species of mollusks, and 30 species of echinoderm have been recorded. The reefs’ health is generally good, but some reefs around the busy vacation destination islands of Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora-Bora have been severely affected by construction, sewage, and sediment runoff.

Society Islandszoom image
  • Pacific Ocean Southwest
  • Type Fringing reefs, barrier reefs, atolls
  • Area 600 square miles (1,500 square km)
  • Condition Good, but significant local damage
  • Location French Polynesia, northeast of New Zealand, south-central Pacific
Society Islands habitat mapzoom image